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Bird baths offer a spot for your feathered friends to drink and clean themselves in your yard, and they can often help attract more birds to the area. Plus, many bird baths are also quite pretty, so they do double duty, serving as garden decor, too.
"Birdbaths not only provide drinking water for birds, they also give birds an opportunity to clean their feathers, which is essential for flight and keeping warm in cold weather," says John Rowden, senior director of the National Audubon Society’s Bird-Friendly Communities program. "Especially in winter, when most water is frozen, or in times of drought, a water source can enhance the chances of survival of birds and other wildlife."
There are lots of bird baths available today, and in general, you’ll want to choose one that’s the right size for your local bird species and easy for you to clean and maintain. While classic bird baths have a freestanding pedestal design, you can also find options that hang from trees or can be mounted to a railing on your deck. There are even heated models for year-round use, as well as fountains to create a soothing ambiance in your yard.
To help narrow down your options, here are the best bird baths to pamper your feathered friends.
Best Overall: Alpine Corporation Ceramic Pedestal Bird Bath
Height: 24 inches | Diameter of Bowl: 16 inches | Material: Ceramic
For a bird bath that’s stylish but also durable, you can’t go wrong with this ceramic model from Alpine. The pedestal-style bath is 24 inches tall with a 16-inch upper bowl, and it comes in several pretty colors with a purposefully distressed crackle glaze that gives it an antique appearance. The base of the unit has a flying bird decoration on the side, and there are two little ceramic birds adorning the rim of the bath, as well.
This bird bath comes in two pieces, both of which are made from durable ceramic. The bowl is designed to rest on top of the pedestal base, and the whole unit weighs around 20 pounds, making it sturdy enough to stand up to a few birds playing around. The bath itself is just 3-inches deep, which is shallow to accommodate birds of all sizes, and its eye-catching appearance is sure to look great in your garden.
Best Budget: Bits and Pieces Hanging Flower Petal Birdbath
Height: 15 inch chain hook | Diameter of Bowl: 8 inches | Material: Glass
If you want to treat your birds without breaking the bank, the Bits and Pieces Hanging Bird Bath is a vibrant choice for your yard. This hanging bath is on the smaller side, measuring just 8 inches in diameter, and it hangs from a triple chain that’s 15 inches long.
This bird bath features a tempered glass bowl that features a pretty flower design. The edges of the bowl have a blue tint that fades to white, with a bright green center completing the flower. It can easily be hung from a tree branch or garden stake, and you can’t beat the affordable price for an attractive and functional piece of outdoor decor.
Best Design: Campania International Concept Birdbath
Height: 24 inches | Diameter of Bowl: 19.25 inches | Material: Cast stone
The Campania International Concept Birdbath is sure to become a focal point in your yard thanks to its attractive contemporary appearance. This piece is made from a high-density cast stone for unmatched durability, and it features a hand-applied patina for a more rustic appearance. You can also choose from a wide range of finishes, depending on the look you’re going for.
This bird bath is 24 inches tall and just over 19 inches in diameter, and the bowl has a unique geometric appearance that makes it look like a sculpture. The base of the bird bath weighs a substantial 71 pounds and the top is 33 pounds, so it can easily withstand anything Mother Nature throws at it.
Best Fountain: Kenroy Home Vogel Fountain
Height: 27.25 inches | Diameter of Bowl: 16.13 inches | Material: Ceramic
Bird baths that feature fountains attract more birds, and the Kenroy Home Vogel Fountain would be a stunning addition to your landscaping. This pretty fountain is just over 27 inches tall, and it features a two-tier bath where water flows from the top level to the bottom. The bottom bowl has an attractive ripped design, and there’s a cute bird perched on the top level where water bubbles up.
This fountain is powered by a thermal-sensitive pump that automatically shuts off if the water level is too low, helping to prevent damage to the motor. It comes with an 8-foot waterproof power cord, and the whole unit has a two-tone, dark teal finish that’s both attractive and durable.
Best Heated: Miller Manufacturing Company Allied Precision Heated Bird Bath
Height: 26.5 inches | Diameter of Bowl: 20 inches | Material: Plastic
You can provide fresh water for your birds all year round with the Allied Precision Heated Bird Bath, which has a built-in heating element that prevents water from freezing, even in the cold of winter. The white bird bath is crafted from weather-resistant plastic, and it has a 20-inch bowl that’s 2 inches deep.
The bath’s pedestal has a pretty swirled design, but it also comes with mounting hardware in case you want to attach the bowl to a deck rail instead. The heating element in the bowl is fully enclosed, so you don’t have to worry about birds coming in contact with it, and it uses minimal power to keep your electricity bills low, even if you run it all winter.
Best Solar-Powered: VIVOHOME Outdoor Garden Bird Bath with Fountain Pump
Height: 28 inches | Diameter of Bowl: 20 inches | Material: Resin
If you want the ambiance of a fountain without threading a cord through your garden, you’ll love this bird bath and fountain combo. The VIVOHOME Outdoor Bird Bath is an attractive resin pedestal unit, and it comes with a removable solar-powered fountain pump that comes with several heads to display a variety of water patterns.
This bird bath is 28 inches tall with a 20 inch bowl, and it comes in a variety of faux metallic finishes. The pedestal has an ornate base with a swirling design, and the bowl has a line of small holes around the edges to make it easier for birds to perch. The included fountain pump has solar panels around the edges, so it will bubble gently in the center on sunny days.
Best Concrete: Athena Garden Cast Stone Large Octagon Bird Bath
Height: 21 inches | Diameter of Bowl: 15 inches | Material: Concrete
Concrete is a popular material for bird baths, as it’s extremely heavy, durable, and weather-resistant. If you’re hoping to buy a bird bath made from concrete, the Athena Garden Octagon Bird Bath is a top-rated option. It’s made from glass fiber-reinforced concrete that comes in several colors, and it has a classic design that will grace your garden for years to come.
This bird bath is 21 inches tall with a 15-inch octagon-shaped bowl, and the pedestal has a faceted design that flares out at the bottom for stability. Plus, it weighs around 40 pounds, so it won’t accidentally get tipped over in the wind.
Best for Hummingbirds: Liffy Hanging Bird Bath
Height: 15 inch chains | Diameter of Bowl: 8 inches | Material: Glass
Hummingbirds enjoy splashing around in water as much as their other feathered friends, but traditional bird baths are typically too deep for these tiny birds. If you want to attract hummingbirds, you’ll need a product like the Liffy Hanging Bird Bath, which is small enough for them to comfortably use and also brightly colored to help draw them in.
This hanging bird bath is just 8 inches in diameter, and it comes with three 15-inch chains and a hook for easy installation. The bowl is lightweight and shallow, and it comes in several bright, colorful options that will help catch the eye of your local hummingbirds—in particular, these birds are drawn to the color red!
Best Deck-Mounted: Audubon by Woodlink Deck Mount Bird Bath
Height: 15 inch chains | Diameter of Bowl: 11.5 inches | Material: Steel and polypropylene
Even if you have a small yard, you can give your birds a space to bathe with the Audubon by Woodlink Deck-Mount Bird Bath. This simple bird bath comes with an adjustable steel clamp that you can install on any railing, and it holds up the lightweight polypropylene bowl, which is around 11-1/2 inches in diameter and can hold up to a liter of water.
What’s great about this bird bath is that it doesn’t require any tools for installation—you just tighten the clamp to fit your deck railing. It’s a great temporary option for renters, and it’s affordable, to boot.
Best Hanging: Monarch Abode Pure Copper Hand Hammered Hanging Bird Bath
Height: 17 inch chains | Diameter of Bowl: 11 inches | Material: Copper
This copper hanging bird bath is an elegant option that’s sure to dress up your yard! The Monarch Abode Copper Hanging Bird Bath is 11 inches in diameter and 2 inches deep, and it’s crafted from heavy-gauge copper with a rustic hammered appearance.
The hanging bird bath comes with a black metal support ring that’s hung by three 17-inch chains, and you can easily install it on a garden stake or on a tree branch in your yard. The whole thing only weighs a few pounds, as well, so it’s easy to move around as needed.
The Alpine Corporation Ceramic Pedestal Bird Bath (view at Amazon) is a great choice for any yard, as it has an attractive two-piece ceramic construction that comes in several colors. If you want a hanging bird bath, the Monarch Abode Copper Hanging Bird Bath (view at Amazon) has a beautiful hammered appearance and can be displayed on a garden stake or hung from a tree.
What to Look for in a Bird Bath
Bird baths are made from a variety of materials, including concrete, plastic, glass, ceramic, and metal, and there are pros and cons to each. Concrete is typically the most sturdy and durable, but it’s also expensive and quite heavy, making it challenging to move around your yard. Plastic bird baths are often inexpensive and lightweight, but they may blow over in inclement weather or crack over time. Glass and ceramic are both durable and weather-resistant, but there’s always the chance they break if blown over or dropped.
When selecting a bird bath, you’ll want to consider both the height and width of the unit. Smaller birds are typically more comfortable at taller baths, as the height gives them a better field of view, but larger birds such as doves, quail, and ducks prefer to drink from ground baths. Additionally, bird baths with wider bowls are able to accommodate more birds and larger species, but small birds like hummingbirds need appropriately sized bird baths if you want them to linger in your yard.
Some bird baths have built-in fountains, and there are several benefits to having moving water in your bath. When there’s a fountain, you’re less likely to see algae growth or insects in the water, and it can also help attract more birds. However, fountain pumps need regular maintenance, and they’ll need a power source, whether it’s a nearby electrical outlet or built-in solar panel.
"Birds are more attracted to water that is moving and can be drawn to the bath by the sound of the fountain. They also like to bathe in running water," says Rowden. "You can also get pumps that create ripples and waterfalls that will attract birds."
How often should you replace the water in a bird bath?
To attract the most birds to your bird bath, you’ll want to keep it full with water at all times. However, you’ll want to dump out the water every day or two to ensure your birds have fresh, clean water to drink and bathe in. This will help to keep your birds happy and healthy, as illnesses can be spread via contaminated water.
"You should clean and disinfect your bird bath at least once a week, but as often as possible is best, especially during migration," says Lauren Ross, Lifesaving and Care Specialist/Wildlife Rehabilitator at Best Friends Animal Society. "Diseases like salmonella, trich, and conjunctivitis can all be spread species to species, so disinfecting your bird bath as often as possible can help reduce the risk of spreading these diseases between flocks."
How do you clean a bird bath?
Bird baths need to be cleaned regularly—the exact frequency will vary depending on how many birds use the bath, where it’s located, and the weather, among other factors. In general, it’s best to clean your bird bath whenever you see discoloration in the water or on the bottom of the basin.
To clean a bird bath, dump out the old water and remove any large debris. Use a mixture of 1 part chlorine bleach to 9 parts water to scrub the basin, lip, and any areas where birds land, perch, drink, or bathe. Be sure to rinse off the bird bath thoroughly and let it dry before refilling it with clean water.
How do you winterize a bird bath?
Not all bird baths can be left outside during the winter. In general, concrete, ceramic, and heated bird baths can withstand freezing temperatures, but check your brand’s guidelines just to be safe.
If you need to winterize a bird bath, start by cleaning it thoroughly with a weak bleach solution to prevent algae growth, and move it to a location that will get direct sunlight throughout the winter months. Line the bottom of the basin with a thick plastic sheet, weighing it down with rocks as needed, then use twine or zip ties to secure the covering around the pedestal and base of the bird bath. This will help protect it from the harsh weather. You can also place an immersible heater into your bird bath to prevent ice from forming.
Are certain birds drawn to certain types of bird baths?
Most birds aren’t overly fussy about the type of bird bath they use, as long as it’s appropriately sized and filled with clean water. One factor that determines whether birds will use your bird bath is whether it's deep enough for them to comfortably bathe—1 to 3 inches is the optimal depth for most birds. Additionally, some large birds prefer not to use hanging bird baths, which can move around when they land on the edge.
"Smaller birds like songbirds like shallow baths, so try to keep the bath no more than two inches deep in the center. You should add pebbles or rocks that break the surface of the water –that’ll help the birds gauge how deep the water is and give them something to perch on in the basin," says Rowden. "Installing a mister may attract hummingbirds, who will fly through the vapor or bathe on nearby dripping leaves."
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article was written by Camryn Rabideau, a freelance writer for The Spruce. She’s tried out many types of bird products in her yard, and she’s partial to concrete bird baths, which she can leave outside year-round, even in the cold New England winters.
For additional background on bird baths, we spoke to John Rowden, senior director of the National Audubon Society’s Bird-Friendly Communities program, and Lauren Ross, Lifesaving and Care Specialist/Wildlife Rehabilitator at Best Friends Animal Society.